June and School Friend 10 April 1971

Stories in this issue:

  • Oh, Tinker! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Wild Girl of the Hills (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • It’s Easter Week! (crafts feature by Angela Barrie)
  • Gymnast Jinty (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Pony Trek Penny (writer Linda Blake) – prose serial
  • Call Me Cupid! (artist Bill Baker)
  • “I Talk To Basil Brush” – Showdate (feature)
  • Sindy and her friends in The Haunted Theatre (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Sindy’s Scene – her Diary and Club News (feature)
  • Animal World (feature)
  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Hobby Time – Rambling (feature)
  • “The Elsa Story” (true story feature)
  • “The Shadow of Success” – Strange Story (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • The Grays Fight Back! (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Secret of Bell Mountain

Some months ago I bought three copies of June and School Friend, slightly on a whim. They are very readable, and also interesting for the light they shed on how IPC girls comics developed over the years. There are a lot of different comics stories included – 10 in total – but these are shorter than in Jinty or the like, as they are pretty much all only 2 pages long each. That leaves more room for text items, including a three page serialised prose story, which is something that never happened in Jinty and only rarely in Tammy. I will write detailed posts on all three of them, as we do for Jinty issues, but I know fewer of the artists to be able to credit their work.

“Oh, Tinker!” looks rather like a story from a nursery-title: drawn by Trini Tinturé, it features a sweet little fairy who can cast up to 3 spells a day and often gets things mixed up. Of course in the end everything always works out ok.

The “Wild Girl of the Hills” is Naomi, a gypsy girl who lives alone in a cave and is friends with wild creatures. Her only friend is Jean Ross, whose father is the head game-keeper locally; the two girls are drawn together by their love of animals. This is a theme that occurs in other stories; Freixas’ lovely art makes it worth a look.

“Gymnast Jinty” was occasionally seen in as a reprint in an annual; it’s interesting to see this story, which I assume may have lead to the idea behind naming Jinty itself. Jinty Lewis is a popular young gym mistress at Sandbury School; she has to deal with emotional troubles from her pupil Gail.

Bessie Bunter is always a fun strip, if very silly indeed, and of course old-fashioned. Bessie does some shopping and scarfs as many free samples as she can – but what with one thing and another still ends up as the hero of the day when she inadvertently catches a shoplifter.

“Pony Trek Penny” is credited to Linda Blake, who is also credited with a text story printed in the 1975 Jinty annual. I suspect that means either that the story in the annual is a June &SF reprint, or that Mavis Miller kept Ms Blake on the creative books during the initial while that Jinty was getting established. She is not a name that seems to appear in subsequent pages of Jinty though.

“Call Me Cupid!” starts this week – a humorous story about a girl whose older sister breaks up with her fiancé when he fails to turn up to the church in time – he got his dates mixed up! Cue match-making from the younger sister, to stop her older sister from moaning so much.

There is a comic with a difference in the middle of the  issue – ‘by arrangement with the manufacturers of Pedigree Dolls’, it features Sindy and her friends. Here it is, partly so you can enjoy the lovely Phil Townsend art.

click thru

There is a two-page episode of “Lucky’s Living Doll” which lets us enjoy Robert MacGillivray’s art, but then we are very well off for his art in this issue, as the Strange Story also is drawn by him. The Strange Story is 3 pages long – the only comics story in the issue which is as long as that. A girl borrows a tennis racket from an old champion and it seems to encourage her to heights of dedication and ruthlessness, which starts to make her unhappy. And MacGillivray also draws “The Greys Fight Back!” about a family rallying round their father, who is in a wheelchair following an accident and is depressed about it. Normally this sort of role would be fulfilled by a girl protagonist so this is a different twist. It has a humorous angle rather than dealing strongly with negative emotions like anger or despair.

In the letters page we see an example of a reader who is interested in the creators behind the stories: she asks “why don’t you print something about the different artists who draw the stories”. A particular favourite of hers is Trini Tinturé, who is given a name in the reply and described as “a Spanish girl… who lives in Barcelona – and has her record player going to keep her company while she’s working!” We are promised more of Trini in a later issue. I wonder if she was in a feature?

The last story of the issue is “Secret of Bell Mountain”, a thriller which ends with the brave girl protagonist being held up at gun point by the villain of the piece.

6 thoughts on “June and School Friend 10 April 1971

  1. It’s great to see Phil Townsend’s version of Sindy. Not a lot of people realize that E.A. Allen’s long-running Barbie series in Tina/Princess Tina was originally meant to feature Sindy before licensing conflicts forced a last minute change (in fact some of the early artwork still has ‘Sindy’ written in the margins). As I understand it this was a period when the manufacturers of the British Sindy and the American Barbie were fighting tooth and fashionably manicured nail for control of the British doll market!

    I really enjoy these occasional looks at comics other than Jinty: I’d be more than happy to see them appear with increasing frequency as the coverage of Jinty becomes more complete (especially as many of the same artists and writers regularly turned up in IPC’s other titles). Maybe some DC Thomson titles such as the venerable Bunty (very much ‘undiscovered country’ as far as many comic fans are concerned) could be touched on from time to time as well?

    1. Thanks for the info Phil! I always had a Sindy doll and rather despised the Barbies (so much thinner and spindlier).

      I hadn’t found time to post about it properly but I had indeed said to Mistyfan that I thought we should officially start to cover a wider range of girls titles. When this blog started then there was a Tammy site and a Misty site and I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes, but things have changed and in any case as you say in the other comment, our style on this blog is different from that on others so it’s not actually a duplication. So yes, we will certainly be doing more non-Jinty posting in the future, in a more structured way than we’ve done up till now.

  2. That’s a great site as well Mistyfan, but just as it doesn’t rule out the occasional venture into IPC territory with comics like Misty I can’t see why this one shouldn’t dip its toe into Thomson’s output from time to time as well – especially as the two sites have significantly different styles. One thing I particularly like about the posts here is the feeling that you review comics as if they are hot off the presses – an approach that makes it especially interesting to see your reaction to strips that have been previously unfamiliar to you or your readers.

    1. Glad you like our posting style! It has come about without great premeditation or planning: I think at one point Mistyfan wanted me to say what had happened in some issues that she was missing, and I think perhaps she was more descriptive than I was earlier than that.

      I don’t rule out the odd post about DCT material but a) I have very little of it myself in any case and b) as Mistyfan implies, I do see it as rather belonging to Lorrbot and her site even if we are doing fairly different things. So it would be few and far between I should think.

  3. I do the odd dip into DCT territory in the panel galleries. I put some DCT artwork there occasionally, especially from artists who also worked for IPC.

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